The falls that bind us

Hey ho everyone!

So, school has started here, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. My boys are going, and so is the wife to work. Good that.

Last year, the older boy rode the school bus to school. Those yellow buses are not back on the road yet. So my son, he is 13, takes transit, normal bus, to school. First day we, him & I, went together, same the next day. But the following day, and since, he has been riding the bus to school himself. It’s only 4 stops, he can handle that.

Getting home, I go to the school to pick him up. We take a different route home, on a smaller bus, a easier trip all around. The afternoon route is very hilly and twisty! This will come into play shortly.

This is what happened one sunny afternoon:

We board the bus at the stop outside the boy’s middle school, it is full of high school kids. We take seats in the back. I have my white cane, but the driver does not ask the kid sitting in the front to move back. I don’t mind, my boy sits in the back anyways. I’ve already told him that he, not I, needs to pay attention to the way we are going and to pull cord for the stop close to our home. Independence training!

Many teens are getting off the bus as it winds its way up the hill; by the time we reach our stop bus there is only my son, myself and two teen girls. Oh, and the driver!

My son pulled the cord; the bus rolls to a stop at our stop, the boy gets off the bus first, while I follow. This should be a smooth embark, as its been done thousands of times.

However, this time will be different, and will forever be engrained in my son’s young psyche.

When I stood up to get off the bus, I did a weird pirouette, and missed both the yellow grab bar on the roof and the black head rest/grab bar. Because of the hill and my ataxia, I did a perfect arabesque* over the seat in front of me in such a way that I was bowing for a spectacular dismount! Oh, and the teen girls were directly behind me!

I would have quite possibly gone further and landed on my head between the seats if my foot hadn’t come into contact with the underside of the seat where the teens sat together!

Can you imagine the shock on those faces?!

I quickly regained balance, uprighted myself, turned and gave a thumbs up to the teens, another to the driver as I ambled off the bus. My son came to the door to help me off as my ankle was quite banged up! The driver, obviously concerned about my well-being, disregarded my “thumbs up” as a good thing, got out to make sure I was alright. I did say I was okay, and my son interpreted as best as he could.

After a few minutes, my son and I started off for home. When I got there, I iced my ankle and all was well.

Was it the bus driver’s fault I fell? No. The bus was NOT in motion, and I did not attempt to stand up until the bus had fully stopped.

Was it my fault I fell? Yes. I didn’t grab the lower grab bar before I attempted to stand up!

Was it the environ’s fault! Nope, how can a hill be accountable to me falling inside a bus?

So the bus was on a hill, facing directly down, and I missed the two grab bars, so I would naturally, with my ataxia being what it is, would want to make a spectacular exit!

That being said, now turning to my son, he now wants to stay home so that I do not fall. He even told me a few times: Do not Fall!

I love this boy!

However, education is far more important to me that him being at home! I need him in school!

*An Arabesque is a ballet move, one foot on ground, other leg stretched out behind.

Thanks for reading!

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